2013 Gorillas & Safari: Closure

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Today is Sunday, allmost 1 week after we left Nairobi and Africa behind us. With that in the past and our lifes is back to normal I can honestly say that I miss beeing in Africa. Life is more simple there in some ways. And it’s much warmer. Today it’s about 0 degress Celcius on the outside. In Africa it’s +30. Missing friends we have made, missing the staff at Exodus and so on. Oh well, life goes on. Next time we hit Barcelona!

And finally, the galleries from this trip is now online and you can see them at these following links: Rwanda and Uganda and Kenya!

Tally ho, off we go!

 

And on the way home…

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We left Maasai Mara on friday morning and headed back towards Lake Naivasha where we had an afternoon off which we mostly spent packing our gear or socializing with the group. The last night we were going to spend on the ground in the tents. Sofia didn’t enjoy this night since she was hurting from the shower slip the day before.

Saturday morning Jackson set course towards Nairobi. We stopped somewhere along the road at a viewpoint over Rift Valley, one of the places that are considered the cradle of the modern man. When we reached Nairobi we made a stop at The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which is an orphanage for elephants. It was an amazing experience to see these fantastic animals so close. We even got to pat them a bit. The long term goal for the orphanage is to re-introduce the elephants into the nature when they can take care of themself.

Next stop was the Giraffe Center which is more or less the same kind of “business” as the orphanage. We got to feed and pet a giraffe and then we also got some information about the giraffes. We left the center and continued to a campsite which more or less was the end station. We had some lunch and then me and Sofia made the descision to leave the group for the hotel. The rest of the group was flying home the same day, our flight is today (Sunday that is).

It was a short goodbye ceremony and thanking the great staff that has been taking care of us during these two weeks. After maybe a 30 minute long taxi-ride we turned up at The Hillpark Hotel. Very nice indeed. Today we try to spend the day one way or another before its time to go to the airport.

Maasai Mara

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Wednesday morning begun with a breakfast and then a six hour drive to the Maasai Mara National Park. We arrived at the campsite about one o’clock, had a lunch and then our first game drive in one of the largest national parks in Africa. A brilliant start on our two nights stay. Thursday we spent all day in the park.

Except for the normal antilops we saw mongoses, girafs, buffalos, wildebeasts, zebras, rhinos, warthogs and vultures we also saw elephants for the first time. We also got to see more lions, under a bush we found three cheetahs and we also got to see the rare leopard twice! I’ll let the pictures speak for themself once I can upload them at home.

The campsite consisted of nice walk in tents which also had WC and showers in them. Sofia managed to slip in the shower and hurt her back and elbow. It seems like it’s only bruises so she was lucky. Later in the evening our “house gecko” had crawled down in the toilet and scared the shit out of poor Sofia. No lucky evening for her this Thursday.

Joy Adamson

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The following morning we did a new game drive where we got to see the flamingos on a closer range, some hyenas and also a wonderful view over Lake Nakuru. After lunch we left the national park and headed for Lake Naivasha. We arrived at the campsite called Fish Eagle Inn sometime in the afternoon. From there we went on an hour long boat trip to Joy Adamsons home Elsamere. On the way there we saw many birds, some hippos and a dead phyton.

Joy Adamson is the woman who got famous for her lioness Elsa and her cubs. Joy also took care of other animals and got a lot of recognition for her work to preserve wild animals in Kenya. Joy was murdered in her home by one of the servants. Her home has since then become a museum. Anyhow, at her house we got served tea and biscuits in the garden. While having our afternoon tea we watched some Columbus monkeys play in the garden. After the tea we saw a movie about Joy and her life and then we returned to the campsite.

Bullshit police and Lake Nakuru

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Just for your information we have experienced some technical problems. First my cellphone broke down and then we had no internet for a couple of days so here comes a few updates in almost a row.

The border crossing between Uganda and Kenya went smooth considering all the great trucks waiting in line to get through. We spent the first night in Eldoret, a place that did not impress me much excep for the fireplace in the bar.When We got close to Nakuru town the police stopped the truck claiming we were speeding. Jackson the driver was brought to the police station and the rest of us got stuck in a parking lot outside the station.

Since we had to stop here anyway to withdraw money and do some shopping we did that meanwhile Often sorted out the problems at the police station. Obviously corruption within the police is very common. Besides, the truck can only do max 80 km/h but the police claimed it was 90. I call bullshit! 3 hours and 10000 Kenya shillings later Jackson was free again and we could continue to Lake Nakuru National Park and our first really good game drive.

In the park we saw many different kinds of antilops, lots of buffalos, vervet monkeys, baboons, columbus monkeys, zebras, some wildebeasts, rhinos, fish eagles, flamingos and also lions. We camped in the park and in the early morning we could hear the lions roar!!!

Source of the Nile

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We started the day with a lay in and then a great breakfast. At 10am we headed in to down town Jinja for some shopping and a generally calm day. Had lunch at Source Café and then took a taxi motorbike back to Adrift Resort.

In the afternoon we went on something called the banana boat for some bird watching which is not really my cup of tea but it was nice anyway. After a while we ended up at the source of the Nile. Before the dams the water would pour up from the springs in pillars reaching as high as 5 meters but now all you can see is some bubbles and movement on the water. Still it was a nice boat trip.

Tomorrow we’re going to Kenya…

From Lake Mburo to Jinja

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We broke our camp at Bunyonyi Overland in the early morning setting the course for Lake Mburo. Mostly the road was good but it had it’s bumps and bends also. We arrived at Lake Mburo in the early afternoon.

We spent the afternoon on a walking safari with the guide Dorothy. She said there was only one liowan in the park, which we if course didn’t see. But we saw a lot of other animals like water bucks, bush bucks, elands, impala, warthogs and zebras. We also saw some cheeky vervet monleys.

At the camp site, which was not fenced of there was some warthogs walking around and even some nasty baboons. Later in the evening when we were having our dinner around the camp fire we also saw the hippo’s coming out of the water. We could also hear the lion growl in the distant which sent shivers down Sofia’s spine. Despite being afraid she managed to enjoy the starlit sky and the experience.

An experience she did not enjoy so much was sleeping in a tent on the ground. It made me snore worse than ever and kept her awake. Once again we broke camp in the very early morning and started to head for Jinja which is a good days driving away. At about 10:30 a.m. Jacksson, the driver  stopped at the equator. There is a small “monument” and a line painted on the ground there.

We did the water tricks, watching the whirlpool swirling in different directions depending on what side of the equator we were. And on the absolute middle the water don’t swirl at all due to the magnetic pools being equaly strong.

And then we finally arrived to Jinja and guess what? Often tricked us again. The promised tents turned into challets with a wonderful view over the Nile river. We’re staying here for 2 nights so we are happy.
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The orphanage

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Today it’s the 30th of October and this day started with a late breakfast and then a walk through the nearby village. We met an old lady that was quite funny. She did fancy my beard and Sofias bossom a lot.

The guy who was guiding us is a guy named Duncan who runs a project called Little Angels that takes care of poor children. He then lead us to the orphanage with the same name. At the site he told us about the project and then we got to attend some classes with the children. That was fantastic.

Later on all the children gathered on the court yard and sing and danced. Of course we could not escape that so we had to shake our hairy legs as well. After the dance the kids got to play with us. They made beads in Sofias hair for example. When we left we got a nice boat trip on lake Bunyonyi.

Uganda, rain and surprises

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We left Rwanda in the morning.  The border control went smooth and soon we entered Uganda. My first reflection was that Uganda seem to be a wealthier country than Rwanda. Still, I think both countries are very beautiful with its green valleys and mountains.

The road we travelled on was as swindling as before up through the mountains and down again. The goal for today was to reach Lake Bunyonyi. After a while on the road we saw baboons so we stopped and took some pictures. We soon reach the town of Kabale where we withdraw some money from Barcleys, one of the few banks in Africa that never lets you down.

Then we proceeded to the campsite. On the way there we saw a stone quarry where they cut the stone by hand. Block by block. Finally at the campsite it begun to rain. A tropical rain with thunder and more rain. Often, the guide had been talking about the campsite as very basic and with only long drop toilets so guess if we were surprised when it turns out we got to live in small cottages!?

Now we sit here after a good dinner playing cards and enjoying local beer. Life is good! Sofia sends her hello too!

And tomorrow we’re off to Uganda

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Yes you read right. We are going to Uganda tomorrow and that will also be the start for our camping experience for a bunch of days forward. This also makes me think we might have some issues with connection but as soon as I can update I will do it!

Now however it’s time to sleep. This has been a very exhausting day. Exhausting but extremely interesting and fantastic. Good night folks.

The Amahoro gorillas

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This day begun early. 05:30 which was way to early. First we had breakfast at  05:45 then we made packed lunch, packed our backpack and made sure we had fresh camera batteries. Then a car came and picked us up and took us to Parc de Volcanos.

At the park headquarters we were assigned to two guides named Bernice and Fernando. After some breifing we took a short trip with the car again to get us to closer to the gorillas. The group we were going to was the Amahoro gorillas. Amahoro means peace in the local language.

At the starting point we also got us a porter who carried our backpack, his name was John. It was totally worth the $10 it cost. He helped us in the slippery jungle many times. The porters was once pouchers but by giving them jobs the goverment is preventing the pouching.

Anyway, the starting point was right in the middle of a village so we had to walk through fields of daisies (the are used to make insect repellant) and potatoes until we finally reached the huge ditch that marked the entrence to the national park.

And off we went into the jungle. It was hot, it was wet and it was uphill through the plants, stubbs, vines and something that remotly resembled a path. We walked, slipped, slided through the jungle for an good hour when the rangers and guides realized that they had been tracking buffalos and not gorillas. We waited for a while and then the rangers found the gorillas but we had to backtrack for a while and then climb even more up on the volcano. And then around the bend…

There they finally were! Gorillas! Just beeing around them was fantastic. I cannot describe the feeling. But at least I can share the pictures I took. Unfortunatly the connection here aint good enough for a huge picture upload so I will have to do it at home.

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After we had spent roughly an hour with the gorillas it was time to leave these wonderful creatures. You’re only allowed one hour with them which is to protect them. Time for a quick lunch because it looked like it was going to start to rain any minute. The way down was long and painful but thanks to our porter John it was doable. And thanks to our fantastic guides we got to see the gorillas! And thanks to the wonderfull Sofia for wanting to share this with me!

Back in the village center we left our porter and got onto our car again and begun the extremely bumpy ride back to the park head quarters and then finally back to our hotell named Snow Hotel. At the moment we are awaiting our dinner which is served at 7pm then we are going to have a nice cold beer with the others.

Ruhengeri

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Today was the first day on our trip with Exodus. We arrived late yesterday to Kigali and was so tired. This morning it felt good to wake up and realize that we’re in Africa!

We met up with the group and the guide called Often. Then we started our trip. We travelled on swindling roads until we reached Ruhengeri which is the town just outside Parc de Volcanes.

Tomorrow we will go to the gorillas. Excitement level 100 reached!

Airport time

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Time is about 05:30 and we’re sitting on Landvetter International Airport. In an hour we’re up in the air on our way to Amsterdam and then Kigali, Rwanda.

Update 08:30. We’re having a coffee at Starbucks, Schiphol. 2 and a half hour to go until the final flight to Kigali. Not sure but it seems like we’re going for quick stop in Entebbe before reaching Kigali. Over and out for now.

Update 20:25
Finally at the hotel after 8 hours in the sky. It’s 27º Celcius here and the night view from our balcony is astonishing! We have met our guide and yomorrow at 9 o’clock in the morning the adventure begins for real. Now we’re off for bed!

Less than 24 hours

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It’s now less than 24 hours untill me and Sofia is sitting on a plane to Kigali, Rwanda. This will be a short trip, only 2 weeks but oh so much to do. We’ll take a look at the gorillas in Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda. then we proceed to Uganda to look at flamingos and do some regular safari. The grand finale will be in Masai Mara, Kenya. If possible, I will upload pictures as we go, if not, I will have to update this when I get home. Stay tuned!